Book Review: Hostage To Pleasure by Nalini Singh

Book: Hostage To Pleasure by Nalini Singh

Published September 2008 by Berkley Books|330 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Psy-Changeling #5

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Separated from her son and forced to create a neural implant that will mean the effective enslavement of her psychically gifted race, Ashaya Aleine is the perfect Psy–cool, calm, emotionless…at least on the surface. Inside, she’s fighting a desperate battle to save her son and escape the vicious cold of the PsyNet. Yet when escape comes, it leads not to safety, but to the lethal danger of a sniper’s embrace.

DarkRiver sniper Dorian Christensen lost his sister to a Psy killer. Though he lacks the changeling ability to shift into animal form, his leopard lives within. And that leopard’s rage at the brutal loss is a clawing darkness that hungers for vengeance. Falling for a Psy has never been on Dorian’s agenda. But charged with protecting Ashaya and her son, he discovers that passion has a way of changing the rules…

I really liked this one!  I definitely liked it a lot more than Mine To Posses, the previous book in the series.  Ashaya has come up in the previous novels, and I was really intrigued by what she was doing.  I’m really glad that we got her story, though I did figure we’d get it eventually.  It’s the same with Dorian, of course.

I thought Ashaya was interesting.  We do get more of what she was doing, especially with the implant protocol she was working on.  I also thought her shields were interesting as well, and the whole thing with her sister really got my attention as well.  Even though Ashaya was the focus of this book, I’m sure her work and everything with her twin will come up in some of the other books.  I really wanted more of it.

I also like that we got bits and pieces from her encrypted files.  That’s definitely different, but it gave a lot more insight into her thoughts and what was going on with her.  She’s definitely logical (she is Psy, after all), but she and Dorian are so good together, and they are my favorite couple.  At least, so far they are.  That could change as I continue the series, but so far, they are it.

The more I read this series, the more I love it.  The characters are all so different, but there are some great friendships, alliances and romance.  And even though each story stands alone pretty well, I also love that the world keeps building on itself.  I’m curious to see how it all comes together and how it all ends.  I’m at the point where I’ve requested the entire series from the library, and I’m waiting on the last couple of books before picking it up again.

I haven’t talked about Dorian at all!  I loved seeing him with Keenan, and I really feel for him.  I definitely get why he doesn’t want to be with Ashaya, even though she is his mate.  One thing I’m kind of curious about is how the changelings know who their mate is.  Now that I think about it, I can’t recall it ever being mentioned in detail, especially since they all seem to mate with Psy.  Maybe I’m not just remembering anything, and I’m totally cool with them just somehow knowing, but it would be interesting to get more details.  Or details that I can remember.  Maybe I’ll have to pay more attention in the next one to see if it comes up.

What is driving me crazy is not knowing who the Ghost is!  Singh is doing such a great job at not giving anything away.  Not that I’m actively trying to figure it out, and I can’t recall any clues.  I’m wondering if it’s someone we know, or if we’ve never met them before.  I’m hoping we find out, but I also don’t want to be let down with the reveal either.

And what is going on with Kaleb?  I’ve decided, I want a book focusing on him.  I’m intrigued by what he’s up to, and I can’t quite decide if he’s good or bad.  Time will tell, but I’m sure this is not the last we’ve seen of him.

4 stars.  I really liked this one!  I liked Ashaya and Dorian together, and both characters are pretty cool.

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Book Review: Mine To Possess by Nalini Singh

Book: Mine To Possess by Nalini Singh

Published February 2008 by Berkley|328 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Psy-Changling #4

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Clay Bennett is a powerful DarkRiver sentinel, but he grew up in the slums with his human mother, never knowing his changeling father. As a young boy without the bonds of Pack, he tried to stifle his animal nature. He failed…and committed the most extreme act of violence, killing a man and losing his best friend, Talin, in the bloody aftermath. Everything good in him died the day he was told that she, too, was dead.

Talin McKade barely survived a childhood drenched in bloodshed and terror. Now a new nightmare is stalking her life–the street children she works to protect are disappearing and turning up dead. Determined to keep them safe, she unlocks the darkest secret in her heart and returns to ask the help of the strongest man she knows…

Clay lost Talin once. He will not let her go again, his hunger to possess her, a clawing need born of the leopard within. As they race to save the innocent, Clay and Talin must face the violent truths of their past…or lose everything that ever mattered.

I liked Mine To Possess!  I think it’s my least favorite book so far, though there were things that I liked as well.

I really liked learning more about the Silence and the Psy-Net.  With each book, we’re learning more and more about the world, and while each book is relatively contained, and is a mostly complete story, we’re also getting more about the world they live in, and how much history there is.  There’s a larger picture that you wouldn’t see if you didn’t read each book.

The overall story gets moved along a lot in this book and that was nice to see.  We get more behind the scenes with the Council, and though there was something that I figured out early on in the book, I was surprised at some of the details.  It makes sense, but I had never thought about it before, and I’m really curious to see where it will go.

As for Talin and Clay…I didn’t particularly care for them as a couple.  I mean they make sense in terms of the story, and they have a history.  I get why Talin acted the way she did, and I felt for her.  There were a couple of time Clay was really frustrating, but for the most part, I liked Clay a lot more than Tally.  I wish I rooted for the romance more, because with romance, I want to love the characters together, and I just didn’t.  Hopefully, I’ll have better luck with the next book.

3 stars.  I didn’t like it as much as the previous books because of the couple but I did like learning more about the Silence and the Psy Net.  And I’m really curious to see where things go.

Book Review: Caressed By Ice by Nalini Singh

Book: Caressed By Ice by Nalini Singh

Published September 2007 by Berkley Sensation|352 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Psy-Changeling #3

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Nalini Singh explores new heights of sensuality, returning to the world of the Psy – where two people who know evil intimately must unlock the good within their icy hearts…

As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now he is a defector, and his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins – cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna…

Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted – and had her mind violated – by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives…

I really liked this one!  It seems like this is one where people seem to fall in love with the series, and after reading it, I can see why!

So far, this one is probably my favorite, and I really liked Brenna and Judd.  It’s nice to see a book that follows one of the changlings, instead of one of the Psy.  Not that we don’t get chapters from Judd’s perspective, because we do, but the previous two books followed Psy, and I liked the change in perspective.

We learn a lot about Silence Protocol and Psy Net, and I liked seeing that.  There’s a lot that we haven’t seen yet, and this book really gave us a lot of world-building.  I honestly want more of it, at least in some of the books that follow. We also see a lot of behind the scenes stuff with the council, and there is part of me that hopes we see a little more of that as well.  It doesn’t have to be in every single book, but there’s a lot that we see in Caressed By Ice that we haven’t seen yet.

I really like this world, and I especially like Brenna and Judd together.  I don’t know that I could pick a favorite couple, of the three we’ve seen so far, but they are an interesting couple.  I mean, Judd doesn’t want to break silence because of what it will do, and I don’t blame him, but it should be interesting to see Judd in the future, with everything that happens in this one.

I think I’m going to keep this one short.  I don’t have a lot to say about Caressed By Ice, and I know it’s part of a long series, so short may be good (at least for now).

4 stars.  I really Caressed By Ice, and I liked how much we learned about the world.  I also really liked Brenna and Judd together.

Book Review: Visions Of Heat by Nalini Singh

Book: Visions Of Heat by Nalini Singh

Published March 2007 by Berkley Sensation|332 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Psy-Changling #2

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Hailed as a major new talent in paranormal romance, Nalini Singh takes us deeper into the world of the Psy and the changelings in her latest extraordinary novel, where a gifted woman sees passion in her future – a passion that is absolutely forbidden by her kind…

Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous – aching need…exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her.

Changeling Vaughn D’Angelo can take the form of either man or jaguar, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar’s instinct is to claim this woman it finds so utterly fascinating and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith’s sight for their own purposes. They must keep her silenced – and keep her from Vaughn.

I really liked Visions Of Heat!  I especially liked Faith and Vaughn together.  Thought Sasha and Lucas from the previous book aren’t the focus, I do like that we see them in this book, and that we still get their story, even though they aren’t the main couple in this book.

I really like the world, and I’m intrigued with the F-Psy and how isolated they are.  She lives in her own little bubble and I thought it was interesting that she decided to try to get out of it and break free.  I particularly liked seeing Faith outside of the compound she’s lived in for years, and how she begins to adjust to the outside world.

We get more of this world we saw in Slave To Sensation, and I’m curious to see if we’ll see some of the other packs and Psy in the other books.  I’m sure each book will focus on a different couple, if this book and the one before it are any indication.  She really built on the world, and though you don’t need to read the first one to understand what’s going on in this one, I still think the world and characters are good enough that you’ll want to read each one in order!

It did seem more political than Slave To Sensation- Faith is a possibility for an opening on the Council, and it’s pretty much for the control they’d have over her, and because of what she can do.  I think that’s why it’s so interesting that those with abilities like Faith are so isolated.  I mean, they do seem to train them to see certain things, but it’s interesting that they don’t try to control them more.  I don’t know if we’ll see more of the F-Psy in future books (or that we’ll see one as powerful as Faith is supposed to be), but I am curious to learn more about what they can do.

I did like her dad, and he seemed pretty cool, all things considered.  He did seem to care about her, which seemed unexpected, considering how cold and emotionless the Psy are supposed to be.  Maybe they’re not all alike after all.

We do see more of the Silence Protocol, and the NetMind, and I hope we’ll continue to see more of it in the books to come.  I’m sure we will, and while I’m fairly certain each book is going to focus on a different couple, I’m sure we’ll see appearances from Faith, Vaughn, Lucas and Sascha.  I’m very curious to see if the Psy will rebel and change how things are done.

4 stars.  I really liked Visions Of Heat, and I can’t wait to start reading the next one!

Book Review: Working Stiff by Rachel Caine

Book: Working Stiff by Rachel Caine

Published August 2011 by Roc|306 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Revivalist #1

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

Bryn Davis knows working at Fairview Mortuary isn’t the most glamorous career choice, but at least it offers stable employment–until she discovers her bosses using a drug that resurrects the clientele as part of an extortion racket. Now, Bryn faces being terminated–literally, and with extreme prejudice.

With the help of corporate double-agent Patrick McCallister, Bryn has a chance to take down the bigger problem–pharmaceutical company Pharmadene, which treats death as the ultimate corporate loyalty program. She’d better do it fast, before she becomes a zombie slave–a real working stiff. She’d be better off dead…

This is a book that I’ve had on my shelf for a while, and it’s weird I haven’t read it yet, especially considering I’ve really liked Caine’s other series.

I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, but I did like it.  It is a cool idea, though.  I mean, a drug that can resurrect people and the company behind it.  It just wasn’t as fun as her other books, particularly her Morganville and Weather Wardens series.  I mean, there is some banter and sarcasm, but…I just wasn’t as into it as I thought I would be.

It’s very different from Outcast Season and Weather Wardens (her adult urban fantasy/paranormal series) and her Morganville Vampire series.  And even her steampunk Library Of Alexandria series.  You’d think I’d be all over her take on zombies, but I wasn’t.  It just wasn’t what I thought it would be.  I was bored and not interested in Bryn and the pharmaceutical company and what they were up to.  It was dull and slow, and it felt like nothing was happening.

Apparently, I’m not going to love every single thing she writes, but I was still hoping to like this one more than I actually did.  I feel like I’m pointing out the obvious, but I had a hard time getting through the book.  I think, if it were any other author, I might have not finished the book, but I’ve enjoyed her books enough that I read more of it than I would have otherwise.

Things felt muddled, and in terms of the world, it just wasn’t there.  I wish it were, obviously, but maybe the other books, if I ever pick them up, are a lot better.  Maybe this series needs some time to get to the level of story I’ve come to expect from Caine.  As much as I like her books, I just don’t know if it’s enough to continue this series.

2 stars.  Working Stiff has a really cool premise, but unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me.

Book Review: Slave To Sensation by Nalini Singh

Book: Slave To Sensation by Nalini Singh

Published September 2006 by Berkeley Sensation|338 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Psy-Changling #1

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Nalini Singh dives into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind-and none of the heart.

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.

I really liked Slave To Sensation!  I don’t read a lot of romance, and I feel like I always say that I’m going to read more of it, but I never seem to do that.

I’ve had this book on my bookshelf for ages, and I figured it was about time to read it.  Partly because I was in the mood, but also because I’ve been trying to read some of my owned but unread books in an effort to see what I want to keep and what ends up being donated to the library.

I did like the concept- two very different people, and two very different worlds.  I wanted to know more about both, and I really liked what I saw of the world Lucas and Sascha live in.  I was especially impressed with the world building, considering it’s a romance.  Granted, it’s a paranormal romance, but even then, you get a lot more then what you’d typically see from other books in the genre.  I liked both the Psys, who have psychic abilities, and the Changelings, who are shifters.  Both are very, very different, but I’m curious to learn more.  They both seem to be at war with each other, and I really want to know how it plays out.

As for the romance, I liked Lucas and Sascha together.  They have their obstacles, of course, and they do get their happily ever after.  It is a romance, after all.  But there is no insta-love here, and things felt very natural between them.  I guess it usually does with romance, but I also don’t read enough of it to know for sure.  I’m just going off of what I have read.  I think I’m also comparing it against the romance you see in YA, which is unfair since romance as a genre is very, very different then YA.

I definitely rooted for them, and I’m glad things worked out for them.  It was hard not to, but they really do belong together, and they really are cute together.  I have the feeling that the other books in the series won’t focus on Lucas and Sascha, but that they’ll make an appearance, and we’ll still get to see how things work out for them.

4 stars.  I really liked it, and while I’m not rushing to read the next book in the series, I still can’t wait to see what happens next.